Build a DIY 3D Filament Dry Box with this popular IKEA storage box

Photo Credit: Handy Bear

    Handy Bear created a clever 3D filament dry box using everyday household items, including a popular IKEA SAMLA box. It’s an innovative IKEA hack for 3D printing enthusiasts who want to enhance their filament storage solution.

    3D printing filaments, particularly ABS and nylon, are hygroscopic, meaning they readily absorb moisture from the air. This moisture absorption can lead to print quality issues and compromise the integrity of the filament. The DIY filament dry box addresses this concern by incorporating desiccants to create a dry environment for filaments, ensuring optimal printing results.

    This tutorial guides you through the process of creating a custom 3D Filament Storage Box using an IKEA SAMLA 22L box and some additional materials.

    DIY 3D filament dry box with IKEA SAMLA box
    Photo Credit: Handy Bear

    Materials and Tools:

    • IKEA SAMLA 22L (6 gallon) box
    • Bowden tubing and fittings
    • Bolts and nuts (m4 size)
    • Humidity sensor
    • 3D printed parts (SAMLA box lid clips, Bowden connectors)
    • PVC tube
    • Silica gel

    3D Printed Parts for Filament Dry Box

    Before starting the assembly, Handy Bear recommends printing the following parts from Thingiverse:

    1. SAMLA Box Lid Clips
    2. Bowden Connectors

    The assembly process involves drilling holes in the SAMLA box and attaching the 3D-printed parts using M4 bolts and nuts.

    PVC Tube and Spool Holder

    Spool holder and nozzle
    Photo Credit: Handy Bear

    Cut the PVC tube to approximately 31 cm (12.2 inches). But if the spool holder is mounted to the original height, cut it to 31.5cm (12.4 inches). Not all spools need Bowden tubes, as you probably won’t need to feed all the spools to the 3D printer simultaneously, so customize them according to your needs.

    Silica Gel Placement

    Silica Gel bag holder
    Photo Credit: Handy Bear

    Handy Bear explains, “Silica gel is the same stuff you find in these little bags that usually come with shoes or 3D filament to keep them dry. It absorbs moisture and, when heated, becomes dry again – so you can use the same beads again and again.”

    Silica gel is sold in many forms, some as color-changing loose beads. Opt for silica gel in a closed fabric bag to prevent spills. To make the moisture-purging process easier, mount the silica gel under the lid using a rigid material like aluminum to avoid bending or blocking the turning of the filament spools.

    Adding a Smart Humidity Sensor

    Humidity sensor in DIY 3D filament dry box with IKEA SAMLA box
    Photo Credit: Handy Bear

    Handy Bear used a smart Xiaomi sensor to monitor the humidity level inside the box. This sensor can be connected to a home network through a Xiaomi gateway, enabling notifications when the humidity level in the box becomes too high. You can also use a regular Hygrometer without the fancy network connections. Mount the sensor using 4 M4 12mm bolts and 4 M4 nuts. Press the nuts into the four slots on the bottom piece and screw the bolts in from the top.

    Box Completion and Filament Setup

    DIY 3D filament dry box with IKEA SAMLA box
    Photo Credit: Handy Bear

    Once the box is assembled, it’s time to set up the filaments. If they have absorbed humidity, dry them in an oven at 40°C/ 104°F for PLA or 80°C/ 176°F for ABS. Arrange the filaments on the PVC tube rack, close the box with the 3D printed clips, and your new dry box is ready!

    Maintenance Tips

    Depending on box usage and airtightness, you’ll need to dry out the silica gel in an oven or on a radiator every few months. If you use a box with an air-tight rubber seal, there’s less concern about the silica gel.

    Handy Bear’s DIY 3D Filament Storage Box hack offers a cost-effective solution for filament enthusiasts, ensuring your 3D printing materials stay dry and ready to print. With enough space for multiple spools and easy access through the Bowden connectors, this IKEA SAMLA filament storage box provides a low-cost and practical way for makers to protect their filament investment.

    See the full tutorial on Instructables.

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